My first day with the Rift

Maximilian Hille / Thu, Jul 31, 2014

This article documents my first hours with my Rift.

I am following Rift stuff for a couple of months now and have been very excited from the beginning. I was tempted to buy a DK1 in winter but in the end I was patient enough to wait until the DK2 pre-order. As soon as I could order and roughly knew when I would get my hands on it, I made sure I would be contract-free so I could really dive into the Rift when it arrived.

Yesterday morning I just as normal started with some Android stuff but eventually after lunch I would be to excited about the soon-to-expect UPS guy. So I could at least make sure my Windows and graphics drivers were up to date (I only use Windows for gaming so far). I also downloaded UE4 which I plan on trying out in the next couple of days.

My UPS hero brought the Rift in the afternoon and I quickly set up the hardware without any problems. I had already downloaded the SDK and runtime and tried out the config utility.

I used the IPD measurement utility and after that sat in my first VR experience at a virtual desk. That was pretty cool! Looking around felt completely natural and by that I mean, I was using six degrees on input without even thinking about it. I laughed at myself when I failed at touching stuff on the desk and had to remind myself that this was not real. Back at University we used to talk a lot about Immersion but this is definitely another level than wat could be reached a couple of years ago.

Next was trying the available DK2-enabled apps (from here) which were all fun to try. A notable one would be the Cyber Space theme park ride, because it was the first demo to really hack into my senses. The next time I was checking r/oculus, the Helix roller coaster was just released and I roller coasted in VR - amazing. I am looking forward to roller coasters that don’t mind real world limitations that much, though.

DK2/0.4.0 demos were basically done then. I had been really excited about Couch Knight so I had to find out how to use DK2 demos compiled for earlier SDKs that 0.4.0. It involved some reboots and one-eyed, in-rift Windows graphics setups – since when can you not use the Alt key anymore to move windows around? In the end I got Cough Knights working, although not from withing UE4 yet. Couch Knights was a lot of fun to try out and by concept.

Being a day full of gifts, I became even better since Euro Truck Sim 2 was just updated with DK2 support. So of course I had to try that one too. I attached my wheel after some adventures through the game menus managed to drive around a bit. This is so much better than without VR!

In the evening I also downloaded DCS and bought Elite:Dangerous and these two blew me away, in different ways though. E:D is a polished, actually playable game with fantastic love to detail. When turning my flight stick I see rocket exhaust just outside of the cockpit. In E:D I have an Avatar which matches my my own body pose and I was able to position my HOTAS setup exactly like in the game. This really became my cockpit.

DCS on the other hand feels like the DK2 support is just somehow patched in. A lot of the stuff is not readable but once I increased throttle this completely had me - wow! I was really flying a jet fighter! From just 15mins of flying in DCS I will from now on regard 2D/non-VR flight sims as inferior.

Big thanks to all the devs who are working on DK2 stuff. Whether it is a small demo, a quick VR patch or a full game. Especially for sims, I see a great future in VR. So excited to see more!